By Ludwig O. Daza
Nonito Donaire certainly wasted a lot of punches against Omar Narvaez. These punches, except for a few, were blocked. That was a bad fight for Donaire whose star billing is in the upswing; styles make fights so they say, and the style of Narvaez can make his opponent look bad. Donaire hit a wall right there in the street of New York and picked a bad apple for an opponent.
It was Omar Narvaez first fight on US soil and he did nothing in that fight to secure a repeat performance in the US, much less in New York. If Donaire looked bad, Narvaez performance was abysmal. He was fighting on a hallowed ground where boxing greats fought, and all he did was bury his face between his boxing gloves. It is New York; if you can’t make it there, you won’t make it anywhere.
After seeing Narvaez for the first time, I’m convinced that his record is built around his defense, and if you’re not of Donaire’s calibre you will never win against Omar Narvaez.
I just think that Nonito could have tried a different way to attack Narvaez. Except for that wild, swinging right hook in the middle round, all his punch combinations were straight to the face, and all were blocked except for several punches that punctured through as a result of increased activity from Donaire.
But how do you attack a shell-like defense that is reminiscent of what Joshua Clottey used against Manny Pacquiao. It should be noted that Donaire is taller than Narvaez, if Donaire attacks the body of Narvaez that should open up for head-hunting, However, since Donaire was taller he can’t generate enough power to make a dent on Narvaez’ body in order for him to open up, and this was made more difficult by the fact that, having a short body, Narvaez is able to cover up with his hands not only his head but also his body.
As expected, Donaire abandoned his body attack and went head-hunting until the last round, never coming up with variations of shots that could have given him angles to get through the defense of Narvaez.
Donaire’s body attack should have come from up close by using hooks, since his straight shots to the body were to no avail. By distancing himself, Donaire got tagged from time to time whenever he retreated to reload.
The best alternative, however, was to use a combination of right straight to the face followed by double left hooks, because the second hook will open up the gloves a bit, then finish the combinations with a straight. This happened when Wilfredo Vasquez, Jr wrested the crown from Marvelous Marvin Sonsona.
Donaire got through the defense by the sheer increased activity when he was using the same shots, which were all straights to the face. The proposed alternative, coupled with an increased activity, could have given Donaire what he was looking for right from the start: a knock down.
Narvaez’s defensive ability is akin to that of Winky Wright, but the latter uses a lot of powerful jabs to complement his defensive skills to defeat opponents. Narvaez uses his defensive skills to make opponent looked bad to earn the nod of judges – of course, this is true only when his opponent is not a pound for pound fighter.
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